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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 20, 2015 2:00am-4:01am EST

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government to help me. this has been going on for 11 years. i have given information to them. they have paperwork around. then, they will tell me my time is up. host: what are you specifically looking for? what are you asking for when you're trying to connect with these government agencies that you are talking about? caller: for information. i go to a job and i'm picked on. i'm the only black there. i'm surrounded by whites there. they call me names. my superiors do not even give me a chance to tell my side. i know that's against the law because the state of texas has the right to work. to me, it is the right to discriminate because these things are happening and you
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cannot get an attorney. you cannot get nobody to help you. host: any suggestions for the caller? guest: perhaps he can contact his local chapter of the naacp. i do not know about the intricacies of the case. but i do think that if there are some legitimate concerns, there must be some way to adjust them. host: let us go to cheryl in california. cheryl, good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. senator johnson, it is a pleasure to speak with you this morning. i just want to make the comment -- you know, i was a little girl when the civil rights movement was going on. i remember my parents would go to louisiana to visit my grandparents. i remember experiencing racism in its ugliest form when we, as
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little kids, were stopped at a gas station. we needed to use the bathroom. we went running because we had to use the bathroom and my father was told that we cannot use the bathroom because of segregation. i remember my father quickly gathering us up and snatching the gas hose out and we go to some people that we didn't know. we, as little kids, thought they were our cousins or something. we were just going there to use the bathroom because that is what we did back in those days. you helped one another because of segregation. what i want to say about martin luther king -- i think the thing that people miss is that he brought this country to its knees because he confronted good and evil with the word of god.
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the thing is -- he penetrated mankind's heart because he gave mankind a glance of themselves through what the word of god says. i think that is what we are missing in today's society. we talk about one another. we go to church every sunday. but we have not grasped the foundation of good and evil. the there are good people in every nationality. there is also evil that prevails. if we can get to a point that we can understand that, i feel that we can fight and change. we would fight against evil and not each other.
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host: thank you for sharing your story. congresswoman, any thoughts on those comments? guest: i think that people have a right in this country to think what they want to think and to express themselves. their responsibility is to respect others and respect mankind. i think that if we can follow that, we would be a better people. we are all entitled to an opinion. that opinion is not to injure others. it is difficult for me to demand that someone else be a good person -- whatever a good person is. we all try. one of the things that we can focus on and what has been good and what leadership brings was the martin luther king era and martin luther king himself. he was a special personality. he was chosen to be the leader
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more attention being brought we must continue. >> we have about 10 minutes left. we are taking your calls from dallas, texas. good morning.
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>> i appreciate him expressing his opinion.
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columbus was an immigrant. we are the best country in the world because we make up the parts of every bits of the world. trying to make a more perfect union. >> iris is waiting on her line for democrats. good morning. >> it is michigan. the martin luther king statue was never completed.
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like every other stats show -- statue. i believe he was produced in china, not finished, and brought here. it is like he did not come out of the mountain, he was a human being. why don't you pull -- why don't you put a full statue out there? it would seem to fit in more with the environment that he is standing in. >> we are showing our viewers some live images from the national memorial. your thoughts on that memorial? i assume you have been down there. >> i have such great respect for the fraternity.
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we will always have opinion. and they will always vary and that is the sign of a great democracy. i have had people say, why do we have martin luther king standing by himself? he was always for the crowd. where else in the world could you have so many opinions expressed and no one shooting them down? i think that is a great sign of democracy. i appreciate that opinion. i was not in charge of the statue. i am proud that it is there. >> south carolina is next. >> good morning. my comments of the senator -- in speaking about martin luther king and all the recent things i've taken place with violence against african
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americans, which i to say black lives matter, but what are u.s. senators and our elected officials actually doing to try to curb this violence in our community? if black lives truly, truly matter -- and i am looking at you. why do we not do more to educate our people and what we need to do to become more successful or and violence as a whole within our committee. -- community? i think it is a disgrace to dr. came to have some officials to stand up and do nothing. this promise has been a debate for the last 10 years. what are you going to do about it? host: i want to get a change of title. this is congresswoman. guest: i'm not a senator. i've is state senator.
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i'm in the u.s. congress in the house of representatives. i say that it is so is he -- so easy to sit it home and demand someone to do something. i do not know his single-member of the congressional black caucus and the level of which i served that has not been involved. working with the justice department. working with the local police departments. encouraging people to vote. the answer we think even in ferguson, is to make sure the people there who live in that city as the majority of minorities -- they don't vote. we cannot solve that for them. it is up to themselves to get representation. whoever sits at home and expect some one else to do everything is the one that is wrong. it is everybody's responsibility and you cannot expect 43 people
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in the u.s. congress to do with millions of people in this country and get it all right. it takes all of us working together. especially those who have all these opinions and are doing nothing about them. host: on the issue of police relations, you had a panel recently on police-community relations in the dallas-fort worth area. how are the relations between the community and the dallas-fort worth police department, especially in light of a 2012 incident that sparked lots of protest on their? guest: my relationship with the police department goes back 40 years. one of the first things that i did back in 1972 west savitt interim study on police relationships in dallas. i've maintained the
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relationship. we do not have a perfect police department. no one does. but we do have one that has shown sensitivity. there are a number of areas that need to be a just. we are tempted to do that. i can tell you that i would not want to live in a city without protection of police officers in the police department. this is not a military. this is a peace officer that we are speaking about. they are human beings. just as those of us who expect them to protect us. we're not always going to see i do i -- i to live. i do not what it is like to be on the firing line every day in the united states. i do expect as a citizen to be protected by them. their incidences where there are many times we cannot explain. those are the ones that we are trying to see if we can prevent.
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i believe that the police department -- i think i can speak for the dallas police department -- i think they are just as interested as the citizens and trying to find ways to prevent the kind of incidents that cause us to be so upset. there are two sides to every story. host: we have one more texan for you. pat, good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. my question piggyback somewhat she just said. having grown up in memphis tennessee, a lot of my family members were a part of the movement of dr. king. i was born in 1970. i was not really involved. i was still a child. i didn't have all the ramifications, but i understand. i understand 45 years later whether it was lyndon johnson or
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dr. king, everybody had a piece of the puzzle. i'm at the point now where i have white friends, black friends, all nationalities of friends, all age groups coming to be a part of the solution. my question is, what you suggest that i do? what can i do as a citizen, a local citizens? i'm looking just for an opportunity. i'm going down to south dallas later this morning. i just want to know what i can do to get involved. i'm willing to leave my number for someone to call me and tell me about things that are going on because i believe that we do need the police. it is absolutely absurd for anybody to think that we do not. there is a cyber i come from in urban neighborhoods where the
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police were extremely prejudice. that is not all the issues. let us bring the issues. guest: well, what can you do? you can be in touch with the church if there are activities going there. there are many civic organizations, fraternal organizations. their crimewatch organizations. their opportunities to run for the city council and trust the city council people to influence the person that you vote for representing your views. there are city commissions. there are county commissions. there are all kinds of activities in which you can be involved with. if you need more information on that, contact your local naacp chapter. contact your councilperson. contact your county commissioners or county judge or state representatives or state senators or whoever your congressperson is. there are many, many activities
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for all citizens that they can be involved with. host: congresswoman >> the house gavels and tuesday at noon eastern for general speeches. at 2:00, members will consider a resolution condemning the recent paris -- terror attacks in paris. the house expected to adjourn in late afternoon in preparation for the state of the union address. the senate gavels in at 10:00 eastern. they will continue to debate the keystone xl pipeline. you can watch the house live on c-span and the senate live on c-span 2. on the next washington journal a discussion on the process for presidents writing the state of
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the union address and the history of the speech. our guests are former speechwriter for president bush and the former clinton speechwriter. and then president obama's tax reform proposal. washington journal is live every morning at 7:00. you can join the conversation with your phone calls. pennsylvania governor elect tom wolfe be sworn in tuesday as the state's 47th governor. we will be live from the state capital in harrisburg at noon on c-span 3. the reverend how sharpton and the national action network held an annual breakfast honoring dr. martin luther king jr..
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speakers included julian castro and sylvia burwell. this is an hour and 45 minutes. >> good morning, washington d.c.! happy king day! oh, you can do better than that. happy king day! happy king day! [cheers and applause] >> all right, first giving honor to god who is the head of my life to reverend sharpton, the head of this merry band, thank you so much reverend sharpton. i want to thank all of you for coming. my name is nate miles. i'll be your emcee for the morning. i see that happy king day and i mean it very seriously, because there used to be a time when we used to have to sneak and take the day off from work.
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joe, when we couldn't tell them that we really, when everybody else went to work except us and we secretly protested and had our own king day, but thanks to coretta king and all of the rest of the king family, reverend sharpton, jackson, and all of the other civil rights leaders around the country, we have a day that we can legitimately say happy king day! >> happy king day! >> that's a lot better. as we come today, we have a great program that has been put together for you. please, as you come on in, we want to make sure that you know what we realize what a crossroads the united states our country right now, we are
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seeing protests in the streets. we're seeing issues that we thought long ago solved still bubbling up to the top. we see relationships that we thought were repaired are still fractured. it turns out we have work to do. america will come together as it always has and it will handle this. we are a better people and we are a better nation than what we have seen in the past few months and over the last year or so. i'll tell you one thing, i believe in my heart that with people like you, people like reverend sharpton who helps to continue bring us together we're going to make this thing work. when you figure that over 50% of our kids now in our public schools are getting free and reduced lunch, what it says is that poverty is on the rise. dr. king spoke of a benevolent community, a beloved community and the question today we will ask at this breakfast and reverend sharpton will give us all a charge to is what are we doing to bring about that beloved community. that is a community that we know can and should happen in this nation because we have too many kids who are deferring their dreams and as langston hughes said, what happens to a dream deferred, does it drive up like
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a raisin in the sun, fester like a sore and then run, at the end or maybe it just sags like a heavy load or does it explode? we don't need any explosions in this country. what we need are people who are right-minded and thinking and sit down and answer the question, he can't tell our children one or two things anymore and expect them to believe it. because of social media and others, you can't contain what is out there now. our kids can get online and see for themselves, speak for themselves, act for themselves and do for themselves now because will are other avenues. we better make sure we understand that the eyes of the world are watching and more importantly, the eyes of our children are watching. with that, i would like to say to make sure that we go upstream, we have sylvia hayes here, so much of the cabinet that are represented by a president and administration
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that believes like do, there comes a baby floating down the river. the guy watching this baby, he runs out and grabs this baby pulls him to the shore and starts pumping the water out of him. one of the buddies standing by man, that was a good job. another one said we got to make sure that doesn't happen again. he goes out and gets another baby. while he is pumping the water out of this baby, where are you going? you can stand here and try to save babies all you want. i'm going up the river to see who is throwing them in. reverend sharpton always looks to she who is throwing them in. he makes sure to call them out as he sees it. that's what we're gathered today for. what i would like to do is get us opened up with our national anthem sung by ms. kathy stansberry. please welcome her as she comes to the stage. [applause] >> please rise.
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oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming and the
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rockets' red glare the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there oh, say does that star spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave [applause] >> well done, well done, kathy.
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[applause] >> well done, well done, kathy. at this point we would like to bring up the reverend coates senior pastor and board member to lead us in prayer. we will go on with the program from there as listed in your book. >> might we bow in a word of prayer. eternal god, we come to you today as humbly as we know how just to say thank you. we thank you for this day and this occasion that brings us
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together and we ask today that you would consecrate our hearts, our hands and our heads that we might make this world a better place. we gather today in the midst of unique and unprecedented times times of great challenge and times of tremendous difficulty and, god, we ask that your hand will continue to guide the leadership of this great nation, continue to lead and guide the national action network and all those concerned about peace, justice, and equality. we thank you for the life, legacy, and witness of your servant who we honor today, the reverend dr. martin luther king jr. help us to discern your will and seek your direction as we endeavor to confront the challenges of our day. as we remember him, we remember the lives of all those who have innocently lost their lives on this day. grant unto us the clarity of thought and the unity of purpose in our efforts to make this nation and this world a place for all people, enable us to be a voice for the voiceless, hope
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for the hopeless and help for the helpless. compel us to seek peace where there is unrest, love where there is hate, and unity where there is division. we ask that you would raise the crown of justice and righteousness above our heads and we pray that you would encourage us to grow tall enough to wear it. this is our prayer and we ask it in the name of hope, in the name of love, and in the name of peace, amen. >> well, we welcome you this morning and i have the esteemed privilege to introduce the reverend al sharpton, the president and c.e.o. of the national action network. when i think of reverend
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sharpton, i am reminded of a question that those who sat on the sidelines during the ministry of jesus of nazareth asked, as jesus of nazareth engaged in his prophetic ministry, there were many on the sidelines asked who is this man? who is this man born of a virgin? who is this man the son of a carpenter? who some man able to make the lame walk and multiply food for those who are hungry, who is this man who is able to challenge the powers that be? and who is this man who when given an opportunity to save himself stayed on the cross and died for the least of these? well, two millennia later there are people still asking the very same question, who is this man born in the inner cities of new york city? who is this man who emerged from being a childhood preacher
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community activist who has been on the front lines of our nation's civil rights issue? who is this man who founded the national action network? this country's premiere civil rights organization. who is this man who is able to rub shoulders with the poor and with presidents and corporate c.e.o.s. it is my esteemed honor and privilege to welcome and to introduce and present today, the reverend al sharpton, president and c.e.o. of the national action network. won't you put your hands together and receive him at this time. [applause] >> thank you, thank you very much reverend delmon coates who not only pastored one of our
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major congregations in our country, maryland, prince georges count and sits as one of the board of directors on the national action network, he must add that he has shown outstanding and i think exemplary coverage by standing up for civil rights issues across the board in our country. one of the things that i think that you must remember on king day is that dr. king said that you measure a man not by where he stands in the hours of convenience, but where he stands in the hours of controversy and when we dealt with civil rights issues that were outside of what was comfortable, issues like immigration, issues like marriage equality that many of us only want civil rights for our tribe and not for everybody, delmon coates stood up and i
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want him to know we're very proud of that, reverend delmon coates. let me welcome everybody to our annual breakfast and we are very happy and honored to have all of you with us. this is a very interesting year where we have seen many of the issues that national action network has fought for and have been battling for coming front and center. whether it is the question of police accountability, whether it's a question of the income gap, when it's a question of now it is documented that 51% of school children are living in homes under the poverty level, these are issues that we have struggled for for 24 years in
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man's history -- n.a.n.'s history that are front and center. if we are to take dr. king seriously, it is not just about putting the issues out front it's about keeping them out front until we resolved them. [applause] resolved them. [applause] >> the job of activist, the job of advocacy organizations, the job of civil rights organizations is putting in light what forces people to look at the issues. there they go again sharpton and them want publicity. that's exactly what we want. that's right. [applause] >> because part of the role of activists is to get your attention. you don't see me on "dancing with the stars." [laughter]
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>> you see us dealing with social issues and to draw the attention to those issues. and if you don't do that, people are not going to deal with those issues in the dark. i often tell the story, i learned that, i did not like delmon coates or like boardmember mcmorris go to one of the elaborate educational institutions. i learned that because i grew up in the projects in brooklyn. we had roaches. i know reverend yearwood comes from there, but we had roaches. [laughter] >> i remember getting up one night and went in the kitchen and saw all of these roaches all over the table. we had all kinds of roaches, big roaches, little roaches. we had flying roaches get on the side and fly down. so i ran in the room and got my
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receive. i said we got roaches. i keep telling you we have roaches. no we don't. she is half mad and asleep. i dragged her. she went to the kitchen to see these roaches, turned on the light, clear eyed, looked around no roaches. she said i don't see no roaches. why are you bothering me? i said no they were here. she is really mad. she go back and lay down, cut the light off. i am sitting up in the room trying to figure this out. i go back, roaches everywhere. i go get her the second time. she stumbled furious, touched the light on, looks roaches gone. now she is not speaking to me wanting to fight. goes back and lays down, cut the lights out. i go back and i figure this thing out. as long as the lights were out, roaches will have a six-course
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meal in your kitchen. as soon as you cut the lights on, roaches go. i spent the rest of my life cutting lights on roaches all over this country. [applause] >> you want to deal with health care, cut the lights on. want to deal with police accountability, cuts the lights on. want to deal with lack of education quality, cut the lights on. our job is to put the lights on where they don't want to go. and once you do, you're going to get a reaction. my mother raised, born and raised in alabama. i was born and raised in brooklyn. she has taken me down to see her mother every year. she said, let me tell you something, you come from the north. you don't know nothing about the country. i will tell you something you will remember all your life. i said what's that? if you throw a brick at a pile of hogs, the one that hollers
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is the one you hit. i have learned that we're effective when folks are hollering because we hit them. when you hit policies and you see folk on different sides screaming and hollering, it's because we hit them. did you hear what they said last night we hit them. we're hitting situations that people don't want hit. i want to bring on our first speaker, but i want to first acknowledge all of our special guests so i would like everybody to please turn to the person on your right and shake their hands and say thank you for being reverend al's special guest this morning.
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all right. the now, let me acknowledge quickly that i'm very honored and happy to have terry o'neil, head of the national organization of women with us. reverend yearwood, hip-hop coffee and i'm going to be acknowledging people throughout the morning, we're happy to have all of you and particularly from the civil rights community my partner and the struggle no matter what it is and that's melanie campbell of the national council. [applause] >> parpgs and black women's roundtable and so many more. i must acknowledge members of the board of national action network, reverend dell-month
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coates, aiesha river and tanya lombard from at&t, a real strong board member. [applause] >> second of health and human services, to show you her commitment, she is on her way to philadelphia open enrollments for the affordable care act closes on february 15. she wanted to be here to speak before and to be part of n.a.n.'s annual breakfastment we're honored to have her as we call in church, our preacher for the morning is secretary castro. we have two distinguished members of the president's cabinet. let me also say from the white house, we're very happy to have
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heather foster. stand up, heather. [applause] >> she is one of the outstanding people in government who has really demonstrated real leadership and we're very proud. her parents are with us as well this morning. where are your parents? i want her father to know, i want her father to know that this is really your birthday party. [laughter] >> today is his birthday. [applause] >> and aside from the dr. king day, this is heather's daddy's day. i want him to know that. we're honored to have you. she has in my judgment showed a real commitment to making sure that one of the most historic
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progressive moves of this president bared the fruit that it was designed to bear. she oversees 77,000 employees. she is the 22nd secretary of health and human services and aside from all of the talking points janay and them give me, i want you to know that against great odds and against every effort to undermine secretary burwell has delivered for the millions of people around this country that depended on this president to keep his commitment and has done so. you cannot execute without having the kind of support staff and mechanisms that will go and do the work. she is not on the front page unless something messes up but she does the work and makes
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sure that the vision of this president around providing health care is a relate in the lives of millions of people that wouldn't have it. martin luther king day, if it means anything, is serving the unserved and giving security to those that live every day in anxiety and on king day, no one has done that more than our secretary of health and human services, secretary burwell. will you come. [applause] >> thank you, reverend sharpton and it's always a bit intimidating to speak in a room of great orators and especially how did i draw speaking right after the reverend. i have had the pleasure of knowing the reverend since serving in the clinton administration during my time
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at wal-mart and have worked with him during my time at the office of m.o.b. and now at h.h.s. and it's a pleasure. i want to come back to something you said. dr. king said the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in time of challenge. that is something that reverend sharpton has done time and time again in terms of standing in times of challenge. [applause] >> and i also want to acknowledge my colleagues, julia castro and bring broderick is here as well and heather, brod is leading my brother's keeper evident that i think everyone is familiar with. i really can't think of a better way to celebrate dr. martin luther king jr. than with all of you today. the national action network continues to fight tirelessly
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for dr. king's dream every day. this room holds the past, the present, and the future of the civil rights struggle. i'm proud to be in some small part today a part of that. when we think of dr. king many things come to mind, a civil rights legend, a fearless fighter and a man of god. he was and remains one of the most transformative leaders of the 20th century. he influences our lives today so many years later with both his words and his ideas. i was not born when he delivered his most famous speech and at the time of his tragic death, i was only three years old, but the ideas he talked about and the courage that he acted with inspires so many of us today to live a life of service, to know that the potential of our nation is great even when it's sometimes very hard to see.
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he showed people of faith like myself how to live out those acts of faith. he showed us how to make the gospels as real as they were when they were written and to make sure that we're working every day to make the beatitudes a reality. dr. king changed the course of the history of our nation forever. we remember him as a servant. that's why we honor today with service and i'll be going to philadelphia to do an event on service and then an event on the affordable care act so that we honor in terms of what he asked us to do in terms of service. dr. king's mission was big, but his directives, though, difficult, were often kind of quite simple like sit quietly and wait to be served. he showed us that the past to helping men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism
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was paved by acts as big as selma and as small as a letter. behind the legend of dr. king was a man who simply believed in action. he believed in service and he lived his life accordingly. behind this might, i will -- this mic i will recognize that accordingly. but we all can have a servants heart. that is what this day is to me. a reminder of what it takes to make revolutionary change. the courage to stand up, or sit in, for what is right. faith in the possibility of a better future, at a servants heart. i know there is an abundance of those things in this room here today. we are closer to realizing dr.
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king's dream that is because of actions big and small by the national action network and others who continue to keep the faith in a better tomorrow. we have made incredible strides and progress since the days of segregation from voting rights to education, to workplace equality. today's america has undoubtedly changed for the better, and we celebrate that. but our progress must also serve to remind us of how far we have to go. in a sense, all the issues that we touch at the department of health and human services are in some way about civil rights. after all, our mission is to make sure that every american has the building blocks of a healthy and productive life. our work impacts moms and dads at the kitchen table, when they are figuring out how they are going to take care of their
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aging parents, or how they are going to make sure their kid is ready for kindergarten. our work is about lifting up americans of all races, of all ages, and all backgrounds. we look at the services that hhs supports -- our nations lingering disparities are clear. african-americans have the lowest life expectancy of any other race in our country. they are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, and 40% more likely to have high blood pressure. african-american women, for example, are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer, even though they are 10% less likely to be diagnosed. and the statistic that impacts all of that -- african-americans are more likely to be uninsured. than white americans. health inequalities impact our nations potential, from access to education, to the stability of families and communities.
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whether you are someone who now has access to health insurance on the marketplace, someone who is newly eligible for medicaid, or someone who is covered through employer-based care, the affordable care act impact you. and thanks to the affordable care at, 7.8 million african-americans with private insurance now have access to expanded preventative services with no cost-sharing. [applause] that includes screenings from cancer, cap smears and mammograms well-child visits and flu shots. from october 2013 to june of 2014, 1.7 million african-americans aged 18 to 64 years old gained health insurance coverage. that is a 6.8% drop in the uninsured over that time.
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in fact come in just one year, we've reduce the number of adults that were uninsured in this nation by 10 million people. these changes are helping people all over this country get the care that they need. these changes mean when a doctor finds a cancerous lung, there is enough time to intervene. they mean a mom will learn to manage her diabetes before threatens her life. they mean that a dad will be able to afford the prescription that keeps his blood pressure in check. and they are helping families sleep a little easier at night knowing that a sickness or accident won't bankrupt the family. this progress was made possible because people like you all helped us make this a reality. you stood with us when no one thought a bill was going to happen. you stood with us during the first open enrollment.
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you held events in detroit, los angeles, atlanta, all over this country, he partnered with us during faith and african-american weekends of action. you held panels and roundtables and you spread the word far and wide. i want to thank you for standing with us now, during this open enrollment. you are ambassadors to our communities, and you are the voices that people trust. you are the reason they will go in check, and understand that they can get affordable care. so, here is what you need to know. we have less than one month left in open enrollment. it ends on february 15. the other thing is -- financial help is available. this can be affordable. 87% of those who are in open enrollment this year, those we have reenrolled, and those who have come to us new are receiving financial help. that is a very important message
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that we want to make sure that people have. the other thing is -- it is easier than ever. we focused very heart of the consumer experience, and that is -- very hard on the consumer experience, and that is making sure that we have a website that is easy to use. for 70% of people coming in new the application went from 76 screens to 16. for people reenrolled in, it is pre-populated. you don't have to keep typing it in. we are to make this as easy as possible. to remind everyone, three ways to do this -- meet the consumer where they are. for some people, they just want to go to the website. healthcare.gov. for some people, they want to talk to someone on the phone. one 800 you can talk to some of the on the phone. you can walk through it. if you are someone who wants to sitdown down with somebody and do this face-to-face, though to the website -- go to the
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website, put in your zip code, and find the nearest person who can sit down and have a conversation with you. in the spirit of dr. king, we are asking you to help us again in big ways and in small. post and enrollment event at your church, or your community. reach out to your partners, ask them to help. use your twitter and social media to spread the word about the february 15 deadline. tell your neighbors, tell your friends. now is the time to close that gap, and we want to help our neighbors. so that we can see the change that reverend sharpton was talking about. as dr. king said, change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability. but comes through continuous struggle. dr. king's dream is ours now. and that struggle is ours to continue. i want to thank you all for all that you do to keep that dream
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alive, and to make it a reality. thank you. [applause] >> let's give her another round of applause. we want to thank secretary burwell for joining us this morning, she is off to philadelphia for enrollment event, we thank her for being here with us and sharing this part of her mourning with us. -- her morning with us. >> i'm the executive director of the national action network, want to thank you all for joining us this morning. we are here for another king day, and each day we gather to celebrate the life and legacy of dr. martin luther king. national action network is an organization that is inspired by his work. we are continuing in his legacy. annually, weak knowledge people whose lives and work also reflect the principles of dr. king. this year, we are delighted to
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honor several people. for continuing dr. king's legacy in their own way. we are seeing dr. king in a new light thanks to the feature film "selma. if you haven't seen it, check it out. we see that he was more than just a dream speech. his work was not done with the 1963 march on washington, or the passing of the civil rights act of 1964. he didn't stop when he received awards and accolades. but he continued to fight for justice until his death. with that in mind, we want everyone to be like king, and to continue to be change agents in your own way. not just today, but throughout all of your days and throughout your life. i want to draw your attention to the video screens, and show you just how we are continuing to act for change. >> [video clip]
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>> civil rights did not write a resume, but it made someone read your resume. >> you achieved because you were that smart. you got there because some grandma who never saw the inside of a college campus put themselves on the line and alabama, mississippi, to get you up here. [applause] >> the national action network engages people. we engage people everyday on the ground. we engage our state legislatures, international legislators, in the capitals of cities and in washington, d.c.. we, of course, engage corporate leaders and seek to hold him responsible, and accountable to communities across this country.
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>> this is our first line of defense in dealing with issues on the ground and creating a grassroots movement to respond issues. our chapters were together with the national staff to ensure the communities are protected against injustices and treated fairly. ♪ >> the national action network has a house of justice. it was dedicated and named by one of the mentors of reverend sharpton, reverend jesse jackson. we try to live up to the meaning of that name -- the house of justice. every saturday, we hold a community rally that is broadcast throughout the nation, both on internet and on radio. we make sure that people can come there, that are looking for
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help, they need assistance, that are looking for referrals. we hold a monthly legal might in order to give people in our community and affordable way to get direction on some of the legal challenges that face them in their communities, all of our chapters duplicate those efforts in many ways. which is how we stay connected to the communities that we serve. we try to know what the needs are within that community, and we try to help people meet those needs. >> i'm not asking you to think about what we have already done, see can be satisfied with our progress. i know this isn't the national satisfaction network, this is the national action network. but i am asking you to draw inspiration from the facts that we know change is possible. i'm living testament that change is possible. [applause]
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we know we have the ability to put our shoulder to the wheel of history and steer america towards the promise of a better day. we know that we stand in other shoulders, and step-by-step, inch by inch, we make progress. >> one of my primary focuses within the organization is to engage our members on the national level. the organization is still growing. we have over 1600 now. it's important that our members become active members of the organization, not just supporting us from a distance, but to really become active participants of change. that's what we gear to increase and to promote. >> we operate seven regional offices in new york, washington, dc, atlanta, miami indianapolis, los angeles, detroit.
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we coordinate the work of our chapters. the goal is to turn demonstration of the legislation. >> the national ashen networks -- action networks provides a voice for the next generation of social change agents. young people across the country advocate for issues addressing social justice, education, youth violence, and conflict resolution. it nurtures young people in gaining skills in various areas including leadership training, social networking, media and legislative advocacy, and public speaking. we have a weekly program called the huddle, that allows people to converse in a setting that is informal, safe, and with their peers about issues of relevance in the community. >> i think what makes this the best, what makes us a leading organization is that we believe in the work, we take it
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seriously, and we do it diligently. ♪ [applause] >> so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow. i still have a dream. it is a dream deeply rooted in the american dream. i have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its
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creed. >> dr. king said somewhere, we must come to see that human progress never rolls on the wheels of inevitability. we emphasize that. never rolls on the wheels of inevitability. he went on to say it comes through tireless efforts, and persistent work of dedicated individuals, who are willing to be coworkers with god. or as my mom would say, doing god's work. that is what all of you are all about. as you fight for economic justice, racial and gender equality, and trying to stem the tide of new attempts -- new attempts to restrict the right of our people to vote. it's the everyday actions that you inspire, that are going to
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keep human progress rolling forward, and keep it from sliding back. >> we are here today because we must ask this nation -- deal with the fact that just like 50 years ago the state has taken a position to rob the human rights and civil rights of citizens with state right projected laws that this empowers federal law. we have seen in staten island, with state grand jury's have suspended the right of due process. and we have come to washington
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to call on this congress and national governments to do what was done before. we need national legislation and intervention to save us from state grand jury's that save the right to people on tape and you won't bring them to court. [applause] when i saw a black man put his hand on the bible and become president, i'm inspired today what i see young white kids holding up signs saying black lives matter. i know the media won't show that. i know they will say we only had 500 representing thousands. but i don't care how much you try to discard it, we shall rise
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again. the people united will never be defeated. because god gave me a new life, -- and new light, and i'm going to let it shine. and the shine for michael brown. the shine on eric garner. god gave me my light, let it shine. >> national action network continues to bring awareness to local and national civil rights issues around this country. we had a major part in amplifying issues like standard round, and bring the fight to florida, stop and frisk in new york, and voter rights issues around the country. we have always been a voice for the voiceless.
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>> when i was down in texas everyone was celebrating the day the civil rights law was finally passed. remember -- there were decades in which people sacrificed and worked hard. change doesn't happen overnight but it happens as long as we don't purposefully give our power away. every obstacle put in our past should remind us of the power we hold in our hand each time we pull that lever or feeling that oval, or touch that screen, just have to harness that power. we have to create a national network committed to taking action. we could call the national action network. [applause] >> so many of our children are victims of senseless gun violence. and this leader right here, stood his ground and stood with
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the trayvon martin family, and the trayvon martin foundation and so many other trayvon martins all over the united states. he did it with passion, he did it with commitments, and he was dedicated to our cause. and that is why we are indebted to him for life. on behalf of accent, and all of us here, we present to you reverend starks and. the icon award. thank you, so much. [applause] >> every day i get up, i have only one wish -- and that is that every morning i wake up,
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that every bigot, every brutal person, every wrong person in this land will say damn, he's up again. [laughter] [applause] >> this gives us a unique ability to support our efforts and comedic ending to the nation the work of the organization is doing on a daily basis. in a way that few progressive organizations are able to do. >> we see a new america. we see an america of equality, of justice, of fairness. we march because we are going to bring a new america, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice -- not for
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some, not for who you choose not for who you like, but for all. we believe in a new america. it's time to march for a new america. it's time to organize for a new america. it's time to register and vote for a new america. we are on our way, we are on our way, we are on our way. [applause] ♪ >> at this time, i would like to bring back to the stage our founder and president, reverend al sharpton. [applause] >> thank you, june 8.
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-- jenee. she is doing a job as our executive director. at 1:00, we do our public policy forum with the mayor, and others at our national headquarters. and then, at 3:00 this afternoon, we will be bringing hundreds, where we will be laying a wreath at the site where two new york city policeman were killed brutally and viciously. tonight, a vigil for eric garner , the chokehold victim. why? because dr. king was about fighting for justice, but he was also about standing against senseless violence. it's important on king day, we send a message, the yes, we want to see justice in specific cases, but that we are not
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anti-police, we don't hate police. most police are good. they risk their lives everyday. in the spirit of dr. king, we start here with those that have influence. we go to new york with the mayor and others, and then we go to show that we denounce the violence against police. but we have the right to question specific cases. that is what dr. king did, and that is how we are going to spend this day. [applause] let me acknowledge also, we have been joined by one of the real champions in this country and a want technology and. he did not want to speak, but i must technology in. -- acknowledge him. he has my brothers keepers initiative, broderick johnson. we are so happy to have you with us. [applause] and also working on the white house initiative on education excellence for
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african-americans, a real champion. he works very closely with our sister organization, education for a better america. if i had finished college, he would be working with me, but he deals with the more educated younger side of nan. david john. president and ceo of them in tc --mmtc. kim. from the brennan center, nicole austin hillary, one of our partners. [applause] the assistant secretary for civil rights at usda. [applause] where is congressman wynn? [applause] i'll be glad to have you as well
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as claudia withers, who is the coo of the naacp. stand up, claudia. [applause] ok, she's over there. you should sit them closer to the mainline. [laughter] glad to have you. i'm honored that one of the leading figures of civil rights in our country leader of the leadership conference of civil and human rights, brother wade henderson is with us. [applause] and i mean, he is a pillar in the civil rights community. also leah from the greater washington dc chapter. give a hand. [applause] let me move in the program.
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i know that we are going to present awards out, executive director going to help us with that. i can get into new york. i'm so happy and honored that others, that my friend, president cox, who was honored last year is with us. as i said for now, is with us. i must say, jim reynolds is a real -- i know the young folk who of done the program, but i'm not allowed to do that. but i have been known not to. i'm glad for all four honorees but certainly, i want to say that it is extremely an honor for us to have a -- as our speaker today, young man who is energized this country, when you think of national politics, clearly into 2012, everyone was
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electrified by this young man. but like most men and women that make their mark, they do not become intoxicated with the high , and they do not become depressed with the lows. one of the signs of knowing whether someone is headed towards a real mark is how they handle high moments and low moments. this young man heralded by media as the next whatever -- said i'm not going to go for the halos i'm going to continue to work. and he did, as mayor of san antonio, and came on to conquer the continued drive for affordable housing in this country. she mentioned the movie "selma," one of the things about that in
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the debates in the civil right candidate, what was right what was wrong, johnson's role, half of the argument is why the older guys names weren't in the movie. but we will leave that for another day. [laughter] heather told me to be nice today. the one of the striking parts is that it opens with dr. king getting a nobel prize. and most people that would have gotten a nobel prize of 35 years old, and on the cover of time magazine's man of the year would never have gone to selma, alabama. he would have said i have achieved it, i have made my name, history is complete. the story of king is with the prize, he went to selma. with the prize, he went to birmingham. most of us go to selma to try and get a prize. i respect this man because with the national media raising him
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he said i want to roll up my sleeve and make sure that people in public housing, and people in subsidized housing have a friend in washington. and that is why we are honored that she has come to share with us on king day, in the spirit of dr. king, the secretary of housing and urban development cooley on castro. -- cooley on -- julian castro. >> in mourning. -- good morning. thank you for the invitation to be here today and more importantly for the the advocacy and leadership in your voice. i also want to thank it knowledge my colleagues, who have been who have been
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fantastic rattling those of us in the and to secretary burwell and heather foster who are here. i want to thank jenny ingram and all of you who were part of the national action network. today is a joyous day, when we gathered to commemorate the legacy of dr. martin luther king. it is a day of reflection about who we are as individuals, and what we stand for as a nation. and how we can bring dr. king's dream to pass, it's also a day of some sadness, because we lost a true visionary -- number is the man -- a brilliant man too soon. it's a day of celebration because his life, his ideas, the
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brilliant example he left in doers. we can see that every day in the work that you do in your own local communities and that national action network does. but most of all, as other speakers of said, it is a day of action. a time to put into deed the example that he left, and the ideals that he championed. we gather today at a moments of momentum in america. our economy is growing again, we have seen 11.2 million new jobs over the last 58 months. we have seen the unemployment rate dropped down to 5.6%. the fastest drop in one year since 1984. the numbers tell us we have seen
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the best economic growth in our country since the late 1990's. we see that in the housing market, with more folks going to work in construction because housing has doubled over the last five years. folks feeling confident because foreclosures have fallen to their lowest level since before the housing crisis. president obama has led this nation to an economic comeback we also note that there is still tremendous work to be done out there, and that our charge in this year, in 2015 must be one thing above all else. to create opportunity. if you are black, opportunity. if you are white, opportunity. if you are young, opportunity.
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if you are old, or young at heart, opportunity. if you are rich or poor, or somewhere in the middle, our charge is to create for you opportunity. we call hide -- hud the department of opportunity, because 2015 marks 50 years that this department of housing and urban development has had as its charge the mission of creating a chance for every single american to have a decent and safe place to live in this country. we are going to keep going strong in 2015. just a few days ago in phoenix, arizona, the president announced a reduction to mortgage insurance premiums at our fha
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that has traditionally been the most powerful vehicle for first-time homebuyers and minority homebuyers to get a loan, so they can own a home, and have a piece of the american dream. we believe that over the next three years, this is going to ensure that .2 5 million more folks of modest means have a chance to own a piece of the american dream. and that over those same three years, up to 2 million folks are going to save $900 annually because of this. at hud, we believe in the intersection of housing and opportunity in people's lives. that is why we are focused on ensuring that, for the 5 million folks who live in public or subsidized housing, if you are a young person, that you want to
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be getting a great education. if you are a working age person, you should have access to job training. and the information and resources you need to get a decent job. so that you can provide for your family. it's also why we know that we need to take a big picture approach to community revitalization. you see, is not enough to just focus on housing. because what if the neighborhood is not safe? it's not enough to just focus on housing because what if somebody can get to work? or what if they don't have a job? or what if they can't make sure that their child is getting a good education, so they can move up in life? we believe in a holistic approach. we also know that in our
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beautiful nation, the richest nation on earth, there is still far too many americans who don't have a home at all. five years ago, the president did something bold. he was the first president to set a marker, through an initiative called opening doors they said we would effectively end homelessness in the united states by 2020. since that time, we've seen a 33% reduction in veteran homelessness, and significant reduction in family and chronic homelessness as well. and every single day, the 8000 employees of hud wake up and go to work in partnership with nonprofits and individuals throughout the united states to ensure that folks can have a
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home that, in america that has always been the land of opportunity, that folks can continue to rise. on this day, when we celebrate dr. king's call for a colorblind america, and also, one that offers economic opportunity to everyone, matter who you are, or where you come from, i'm proud to join you as we push to create prosperity for americans everywhere, to commit ourselves to action, to use our time and our talents and our resources to not just do for ourselves, or for our own families, but to do for others as well. it is a wonderful ideal, one that we celebrate today, and that we live out every single day.
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thank you for doing that. we appreciate it. [applause] >> given other hand to secretary castro. [applause] i'm going to have our executive director come back as we do the awards. i do want to recognize d.c. council member at large vincent orange, who works with us every year, and is one of the outstanding -- where is he? [applause] in another of our giants in the civil rights community the
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irreplaceable, irrepressible barbara on wine of the committee. [applause] as we -- every year we present several awards to people that we feel have shown in their lives the spirit of dr. king. be like king awards. the staff selects them, and will give them the first award, i will present with them. and then they are kicking me off, they say the older folk have to get off the stage, they mean that now. [laughter] but this brother represents one
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of the real frontiers that we are yet to conquer, and that is dealing with economic and business in this country. dr. king formed a group called operation breadbasket, which was part of his organization. to receive economic or to fight for economic equity and parity. it's new york chapter, i was the youth director of i was 13 years old. one year after he was killed. i grew up given total orientation on our fight for social justice, and legal justice, most equal, our fight for economic justice. no one has personified that and exemplified that more than the winner of the economic justice award. he has worked from the tireless
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days of washington and chicago to seeing his friend, barack obama, become president of the united states. but on his own rights, what he has done with new capital opening doors that never had been opened before by a person of color but performing is not enough to get you in the door, if you embarrass us once you get in. the validation there is that we show that if given the chance we can perform. and he has never not performed. which opens the door for us. but he never forgot where he came from. you measure giants not by how tall they stand but how tall they stand on their own two feet. because i have found in life that a lot of people that i looked up to were standing on letters, and were really not standing on the ground on their own two feet. this man is tall, we look up to
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him, that there is no letter under him. these are his two feet, grounded in his community. with his head held high. i'm honored to present our economic justice award to the chairman and chief executive officer of loop capital, james reynolds. [applause] >> thank you all, so much. it is a privilege for me to be here today to receive this great award from such a great man. in my particular hero, reverend sharpton. particularly on this wonderful day, king day. when i started my business, 17 years ago, i had several missions. one was certainly do have a successful business.
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because of you don't have a successful business when you start a business, you really are not going to do much else. but then, given that to stay involved in my community, and to do every single thing i could to make my community proud of any success that i would have, and have had. it is always humbling for me, and coming from chicago, i've been around some great leaders. but to be on stage with a man like reverend sharpton, who is sacrificed so much for so many. so thank you all, i really appreciate this today. thank you so much. [applause] >> before go any further, i know we have a birthday. it is mr. foster's birthday, we want to give them a round of applause for being here on his birthday and celebrate with us.
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he is the father of heather foster, from the white house. eddie birthday to you. [applause] -- happy birthday to you. the next award is going to be presented is the breaking barriers award. i've heard her name for a while now, and finally had the opportunity to meet her today. but her work obviously precedes her. her reputation at her work has been talked about in this town and beyond the borders of the city. she was confirmed by unanimous consent of the u.s. senate in december 2010 to be the 14th chair of the equal employment opportunity commission, the eeoc. her term recently ended. we thought no better time to honor her, and to recognize the work she has done with the commission. she has had lots of other awards, including the rue.com hr's most influential by human resource executive online. she was america's leading black
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woman in public service, and the power 100 of the list of the most influential minority attorneys. so this is not her first time being presented with an award, but obviously, it is very, very deserved. we are honored to have her here today. at this time, i would like to present our breaking barriers award to jaclyn berrien esquire. [applause] >> she also has a big fan club in the building. [applause] >> i will hold this for you. >> thank you, so much. i'm just thrilled beyond words. one of the byproducts of spending time in brooklyn i think is that you do always have brooklyn in the house. [applause]
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and i have a hometown crowd, i'm a d.c. native. [applause] i've had the blessing also of working with so, so many people who are here today, the leaders of the civil rights movement. beginning of course, with reverend sharpton, and the national action network's leadership. but so many people who have been a knowledge today, who are my longtime friends and allies. dr. king once said, when evil men plot, good men must plan. when evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. when evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice. one of the great benefits, i
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think, of the movie "selma,", a great film that so many of us have had the opportunity to see -- if there's anyone who hasn't, please, do see it. but i think one of the wonderful things it does is it shows that as important as dr. king and the other leaders of the civil rights movement were, and truly, they were important -- there is no movement without the masses. there is no history until we make it. one of the things i always carried with me to my work, and in my work at the equal implement opportunity commission , was the fact that the commission exists because in 1963, hundreds of thousands of people had the faith to believe that this nation could live up to its promise of liberty and justice for all. but importantly, they married that faith with the action of
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marching to washington, and marching just a few blocks from here to the national mall, to make sure that they demanded that this nation deliver jobs and freedom, as it promised. the equal implement opportunity commission was created because of the civil rights act of 1964 that was passed in the wake of that great march. and the film reminds us that the civil rights act of nation 65, the voting rights act of 1965 was passed because of those marchers, those brave men and women and children who faced down the police, the fire hoses the dogs in birmingham, and in selma, and all across the south. we stand here -- i'm able to stand here, everything i have ever been able to achieve is not because of any solitary effort. why spoke to the staff of the
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eeoc i would always say there is no such thing as solitary success as a leader. you only succeed as a leader because of the efforts of all of those you work with every day. so today, i'm grateful that i have this opportunity, i don't deserve this recognition, but what i do know is that i'm grateful, first to god, i'm grateful to my friends and family who enabled me to serve in the eeoc. i can name them all, but i certainly must acknowledge my first and greatest supporter -- my husband, peter williams, who reminded me this morning that we were engaged at a concert, with stevie wonder singing. as we were working and hoping and working and fighting to see that there would be a martin luther king holiday.
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so 31 years ago, we were engaged. [applause] to my pastor, here in washington, idc church home, michigan park, christian church. the pastor, marvin owens, and his wife, first lady barbara owens, who are here with me today. to president obama who entrusted me to serve as the chair of the eeoc, and to the administration colleagues, both those who are here today, and those who are not, but who worked alongside me to enforce the nation's civil right laws. to all of the eeoc's public and private sector, and civil rights and human rights community allies -- allies and stakeholders. and to all past and present eeoc employees, who are represented here today by three very special people and guests, who have come to join me today.
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they were indispensable during my eeoc service, they weren't dead, the wind -- they were indeed the wind beneath my wings. particularly james price, who recently retired after more than three decades of service in the federal government. and heroic service in the united states army during the vietnam war. thank you all for being here. these men and women, and the more than 2200 men and women i had the privilege of working with at the equal employment opportunity commission are those who truly deserve the credit for the eeoc's achievements. and i am delighted to stand today, and to accept this award and share this with them today. thank you. [applause] >> she said she wasn't deserving, and i had to tell her, she is definitely deserving.
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i think when she came up to the applause proved just that. let's give her another round of applause. [applause] a lot of people know about national action network's activism, specifically when it comes to issues around criminal justice reform, and police misconduct. but we focus on a whole host of issues, including health care. two years ago, we hosted our first-ever health care awards luncheon. that sort of focused on and brought together the need to pay attention to health inequities that exist in the black community. and obviously, secretary burwell was here, speaking about some of those disparities that exist within our community. one of our great partners for that luncheon was the aetna foundation. when we started taking about this year's awards, we wanted to lift up as part of the king day celebration, we wanted to lift up aetna again.
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the work that we think about in terms of healthy living is so important to us being able to continue the fight that we talked about. so we chose floyd green -- where is floyd? there you are. the vice president and head of committee relationships of urban marketing for aetna. he is responsible for their philanthropic investment for the brand, and he is the recipient of many professional and civic awards, again, well-deserved including a presidential meeting with jimmy carter to discuss foreign intimacy policies, and the international global award for excellence and health care marketing. most recently, he was honored by black doctors.org at john hopkins center for health disparities solutions. it is very fitting that we give today's mlk merit award to floyd green the third. [applause]
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>> good morning. i am deeply honored to receive this award from reverend al sharpton, as well as the national action network. at that not come into thousand, we went to washington to ask the correct racial and nothing data for our population. at the time, folks were afraid that the big bad insurance company would use this information for unfair rating and righteous and bias and stereotypes. we said no. in order for people to really understand and get the right information and write health care, we need to know who people are, where they live. the language they speak, what culture therefrom. they said no. we said we are not going to give it to marketing people. we will only keep it with our case managers. so that all people can get the care they need and again, folks
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that no. it wasn't until our chairman went on cnbc, and one of the analyst said to our chairman -- don't you believe it's racist to collect ethnic data on the population, and he said it's racist not to. and so, for years now, we have been using this data to make sure that all people, the matter who they are, will he would this be lakota therefrom, get the information that they can get that they need to make informed decisions about their health. martin luther king said that one of the greatest forms of inequality is that of health care, and that it is most shocking and inhumane, and we are working diligently to make sure, especially now that people have a in axis, that they get the tools they need to make the right decisions about their health care. the name is personal for me is
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that martin luther king talked about dreams. what i have noticed across the country, when we look at total health, is our kids and ability to dream. one of the reasons because of that is removal of arts and arts education in the school system. and we must put a crayon back in a child's hand. so they can create rainbows. [applause] that a child may struggle with mathematics, but yet, can play trumpet and understand fractions. and through that playing the trumpet, that person can go on to be a physicist, or an engineer. that someone may not necessarily know how to do reading comprehension, but they might learn a line in a play, and they might be able to comprehend a character in a role and through that, be able to read and go on and become teachers of this
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great nation. for the arts are important for the development of society, and the development of a culture. there arts will take us into innovation, and create a new world for us. we have to have our children to believe that they can dream. so that while stem is important science, technology, engineering, math, i personally believe when a corporation stands behind its steam and is the engine that will move us forward. and for those of you who are not familiar with steam, it's science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. it is that engine that will hopefully, one day, allow all kids, no matter who they are where they live, what culture they speak, allow them to dream of. thank you for this honor. [applause]
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>> our last award, and certainly not least, is our lifetime achievement award. a lifetime of service award. augustine thomas is a woman i have yet to meet, but have heard a lot about. she was actually a classmate of dr. king. she -- it is very fitting that she would be getting this award. she knew him before he was the dr. king that we have all come to know and love. she was reelected as the national vice president for women and fair practices in 2000 nine. as the national vice president her mission is to expand the training program. in 1956 she first joined a sge.
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she was someone who set in at the greensboro lunch counter. i am sure that we will hear more about her. a perfect fit for the king day awards, because of her lifelong service and commitment to justice and equal opportunity. we were delighted to present her with the award. unfortunately, she could not join us, but we do have someone who knows her well to accept the award on her behalf. here we have david cox president of the national also see asian of employees. [applause]
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>> well, good morning, brothers and sisters. you know that this is a wonderful morning. let's just stop to think about it. barack obama is president of the united states. that is an achievement. now, i just heard from the secretary of housing and urban development and i am telling you, you know, that is an achievement, too. look, dr. king's dream is alive. we also heard from the secretary of health and human services -- a woman, yes, dr. kings -- king's dream is alive. miss augustine was born in 1922. do the math right fast. she had to have a little medical procedure. she is not here because she is elderly and working her but off in the senate in louisville, kentucky, just a few weeks ago.
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she will be back on her feet and joining us in a few more weeks marching again as she has been marching all of her life. i am so very honored and privileged to receive this award for someone that i admire and someone who has mentored me my entire life, miss augustine thomas. now, i asked her what do you want me to talk about this morning? what would you say on accepting this award? she has many, many stories. the one she wanted me to share with you this morning, all of her life she has stood up for workers, for union members, for winning fair wages and dignity him the job, as well as equal opportunity.
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in 1960 she was living in louisville kentucky and had six children. the lord was eventually going to bless her with nine. had six children. they needed help at the greensboro lunch counter. she was outraged with what was going on. thank god, today augustine thomas -- augustine thomas made north carolina better state with her work and actions. she said that these young men need help and has spent her life
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helping others. so, she went to her husband and said -- i told him, i was going to go to greensboro and you all this was 1960. this was before women had arrived in this country. he looked at her and said your father and i will discuss this situation. well, they came back and told her it was too dangerous. you are a mother, you know, you are a wife, you could get hurt and go to jail. you could even be killed. she said -- i understand all of that, but i am going. well, they talked for a few minutes and said -- ok, we are going to agree to let you go. she said no, stop right there. i told you that i made this decision, i'm going. i don't need my husband and my father telling me whether i can go or not.
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yes, she was a fighter for women's rights in this country also. so, she went on to greensboro. she sat there, day after day. people spat on her. they hit her. they kicked her. they knocked her off the stool. she kept getting back up. she was arrested twice in the process. as she tells the stories, as she tells it to me, miss augustine is very light-skinned. she said that they were more vicious, more evil, and more wicked to her because they thought she was white and that she was being a traitor to her race. but you know, miss augustine is not a traitor to any race. augusta thomas is a person that fights for every individual in this country. she told me to end the story today, that she believes in
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helping anybody who cannot help themselves at the time. and it does not matter whether a person is male or female, black or white, gay or straight, even a democrat or a republican. she said -- if they need help, we should help them we should stand by them. when i think of all of the things that augustine thomas has done in her life, i will tell you, brothers and sisters join with augustine thomas, the dream of martin luther king. encourage someone to get an education, that needs to get a chance in this life. help us child. get the arts back in the school. first of all, go out and get someone to vote today and register them to vote and live
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the dream forever, for dr. king and for augusta thomas. thank you also much. miss augusta, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this award. [applause] >> now you see not only why we honored miss augustine a, but also by president cox be the one to accept the award. he has to collect every year now. i want to draw your attention back to the idiot screen. king day is something that we all look forward to. it became a law in 1983.
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all 50 states did not observe it until 2000. at this point i want to knowledge that the president created a video and he will tell you more on what you need to do, but he is part of the dream that dr. king talked about. so, at this time i think the video is ready and we can turn our attention to the screen. >> hi, everybody. today we pay tribute to dr. martin luther king jr.. we reflect on the lessons of his life and the extraordinary change that begins when ordinary men and women are willing to stand up for the progress they seek. we draw strength from his unbending moral force and belief in nonviolence. just as we celebrate what he
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achieved we recommit ourselves to our unfinished work defending the dignity and equality of all people. that is why today we come together in a national they of service. as dr. king once said, life's most persistent and urgent question is -- what are you doing for others? cleaning up parks visiting hospitals, working at food banks, reading to children. they are doing their part to honor dr. king by heating his call to serve. to everyone out there volunteering today, thank you. to everyone who wants to join in , it is not too late. just go to www. mlk day.com to find a project happening right now near you. dr. king is an inspiration to millions around the world including me.
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we feel his legacy all around us. in our schools, communities, halls of government, and most importantly in our hearts and in how we treat each other, with kindness and respect, binding us together. that one day all americans would treat each other as brothers and sisters. let's do our part to make that dream real. not just today, but every day. [applause] >> is everyone having a good time? i told you we would have a good time today. you all having a good time? we are closing in on the end of the program, but we have two very special presentations that we want to have right now. one that really focuses on education. as we all know in this room, education is key. knowledge is power. we also know that that is one of
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the main reasons that people of our color were shut out of the educational system. once you learn, you are able to grow. whether it was the little rock nine or frederick douglas, they had to have an education. the national education network is pleased to bring up dr. mark is right, the executive director of the education for a better america. the mission of the corporation is to build ridges between policymakers and the classroom by supporting innovation in the delivery of education and creating a dialogue between policymakers, community leaders educators, parents students, disseminating information positively to impact our schools . if we are ever going to get out of the hole that we are in it will come through education and be led by individuals like dr. -- like dr. mark is right -- marcus wright.
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let's bring him to the stage now. >> i do bring greetings from education for a better america. we are only two years old but we have been able to partner with universities and school districts to conduct a myriad of programs for parents and students across the country. for example, this fall we conducted a higher education awareness tour in miami-dade county. that district went on to bust thousands of those students to the polls to vote early october 27 and october 28, 2000 or election. dr. king, the man that we celebrate today, once posed the question -- what good does it do a man to have access to an integrated lunch counter if you cannot afford to buy his wife's dinner? he was calling for what so many
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have been working for this room, access and equity. we want equitable ways to be able to raise our families. [laughter] [applause] david johns is here with his teach the babies movement, which has been a critical call for action. for early childhood education of a high-quality nature. we can assist in that movement by making sure that those programs are implemented in an equitable fashion and encouraging parents to teach their babies to read, talk, and sing for 30 minutes per day. to cultivate bring development. ultimately, civil rights activism like that must be complemented.

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